For International Women's Day, we're celebrating the many women's collectives around the country
Boys' clubs have helped men network, collaborate and, thus, succeed for thousands of years. Unfortunately the same can't be said for women.
It's only in recent years that we've discovered the power of female networks and, thankfully, there are now female-led groups for just about every discipline. Here are a few of our favourites.
- WhyDesign If you’re looking for female role models in the world of design, you’ll find an inspiring coterie of dreamers and doers at WhyDesign, a gender balance initiative set up by Kim Mackensie-Doyle during her tenure as President of the Irish Design Institute. WhyDesign showcases the work of prolific Irish female designers, and provides a conversation around gender balance within the design industry. Find out more here.
2. Women Who Code Women Who Code is a global nonprofit organisation dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. With networks in Dublin and Belfast, they offer members coding resources, mentorship and programmes designed to help them step up their tech career. Find out more here.
3. Silver Swans Who said ballet was only for young women? The Silver Swans programme, designed by the Royal Academy of Dance, is specifically for those over the age of 55. Ireland’s Silver Swans meet every Tuesday in DanceHouse, Dublin, so get your ballet shoes on and get involved.
4. Moon Medicine The Trailblazery has been blazing a trail across Ireland with their boundary-breaking, soul-stretching experiences. Their Moon Medicine series was initiated in 2018 as “an invitation to women from all walks of life to harness their inner power and meet a host of inspiring women along the way”. The group runs monthly events in Dublin that are aligned with the lunar cycle. Expect live music, ancient wisdom and thought-provoking teachings. Find out more here.
5. BlockW Blockchain is one of the fastest growing technologies in the digital space, yet women are at risk of getting left behind in an industry that's been male-dominated from the get-go. If you’re curious about cryptocurrencies — or want to understand why Blockchain is disrupting everything from insurance to music streaming — you can connect with BlockW on LinkedIn.
There are 57 speakers listed for this blockchain conference. Guess how many are women.
Zero. The answer is zero. But hey, there's no gender problem in the cryptocurrency community, right?
There are 57 speakers listed for this blockchain conference. Guess how many are women.
Zero. The answer is zero. But hey, there's no gender problem in the cryptocurrency community, right? https://t.co/csUcl76Apk
— Elise Thomas (@elisethoma5) February 26, 2020
6. Women’s Inspire Network Created by women for women, this group offers real support to female entrepreneurs who are busy building their empires. “We understand the challenges and isolation of being a female entrepreneur in the business community because we are female entrepreneurs ourselves,” says founder Samantha Kelly. “We see there is a need to have a safe environment where you can ask questions and offer practical and emotional support to you if you need it.” This group is for paid members only and information about joining can be found at womensinspirenetwork.com.
7. MNÁSOME Founded in 2017 by editor Sinéad Furlong, MNÁSOME is a platform for women in music. It is a space dedicated to music created by (or involving) female musicians; somewhere for them to highlight their work and give them due recognition. MNÁSOME also runs events and an online shop where you can purchase merchandise to support the project. For more information on how to get involved, visit mnasome.com.
8. AkiDwA AkAkina Dada wa Africa – or AkiDwA for short – is a national network of migrant women living in Ireland. The group, whose name means ‘sisterhood’ in Swahili, hopes to achieve equal opportunity and equal access to resources in all aspects of society, including social, cultural, economic, civic and political. All of their projects aim to build the capacity of migrant women and promote their participation in their local communities; in civic and political structures, government consultations and decision-making processes. For details on how to get involved, visit akidwa.ie.
9. Ladies Wine & Design Dublin Spearheaded by Jessica Walsh of &Walsh creative agency in New York, Ladies Wine & Design is a monthly get-together for women of a creative persuasion that takes place in cities worldwide, including Dublin. Check out their Instagram account — it’s a visual feast.
10. 20x20 This initiative is dedicated to creating a cultural shift in our perception of women in sport. Key goals include: 20% more media coverage of women in sport; 20% more female participation whether at player, coach, referee or administration level, and 20% more attendance at women’s games and events by the end of 2020. Organisers behind 20x20 are asking all sections of Irish society to show their stripes and pledge one small action to increase the visibility of women’s sport in Ireland – because if she can’t see it, she can’t be it. Find out how to support the cause by visiting 20x20.ie.
11. Women’s Aid Since 1974, this leading national organisation has been working to stop domestic violence against women and children in Ireland. Women’s Aid has a 24-hour free national helpline (1800 341 900) which offers support to callers experiencing domestic abuse. All staff are specially trained and fully accredited by the Helplines Association, and the service has a telephone interpretation facility covering 170 languages. Women's Aid also offers a Dublin-based one-to-one support service across six locations, while also engaging in policy, representation and communications at a national level. For more information, visit womensaid.ie.
12. Angry Mom Collective Abbey Blake from Co Cork set up Angry Mom Collective when she noticed the lack of female representation in the Cork music scene. The aim of the collective is to support and bring awareness to the works of burgeoning female and non-binary artists (including musicians, poets, writers and spoken word artists) to cultivate an environment where everyone feels welcome to express themselves creatively. The team is always open to hearing new ideas and feedback about their various events and social media campaigns. Visit angrymomcollective.com for more details.
13. Women on Air Women on Air is a community of like-minded women and men who want to hear and see more women on the airwaves. The voluntary networking group runs a variety of seminars, events and informal training workshops to help give women the skills and confidence to go on radio and television. “Through our seminars and meetings, women come to understand that their opinions are valid, and wanted, by radio researchers and producers. They also form networks of women who encourage and support them to get on radio or TV.” Find out more at womenonair.ie.
14. National Women’s Council This non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation wants to achieve equality for all women in Ireland. Founded in 1973, the NWCI represents over 180 member groups from across a diversity of backgrounds, sectors and geographical locations. Key issues include women in leadership, women’s right to health, valuing care and care work, women’s economic independence and reaching out to young people. Learn more at www.nwci.ie.
15. WIIM (Women in Irish Media) Founded by Una Mullally and Sorcha Pollak in 2019, Women in Irish Media (WIIM) is a network and collective space where women in the media can hang out and learn from one another while sharing advice and experiences. Any women in Irish media who would like to get involved can contact [email protected]
16. Galz Gone Wild Galz Gone Wild is all about connecting women together and with nature. Founded by Melissa McDermott, the group partakes in regular hikes, getaways, adventures, workshops, and events all around the country. Self-love, friendship, fun, fitness, creativity and mindfulness are what the group is all about. Find out more here.
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17. Girl Crew Girl Crew is an Irish-founded social networking app that does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a platform that helps women to make new friends. If you don’t fancy going to a concert all alone, then you can use the app to put out an ask to other women who might be interested. Simple yet effective and bringing women together. We love.
18. Women for Election This not-for-profit organisation encourages and supports women to run for politics. The group is non-partisan and women from all walks of life get involved. Full-day training sessions called INSPIRE give women the skills they need with the help of political experts and female representatives.
19. Irish Feminist Network The Irish Feminist Network is a members-based organisation committed to promoting gender equality in Ireland. Since its launch in 2010, it has become a voice for women’s issues in the country with over 5000 members. Regular meetings throughout the year focus on ideas to help take action against injustices faced due to gender identity in Ireland. Click here for more.
20. Gxrl Code Gxrl Code was created in 2017 by Mona-Lxsa, who wanted to give girls a platform in the creative industry. She helps members by putting their names forward for brand collaborations and projects to give them the start they need. The collective is all about building other females up and that is something we love to see. Follow the group on Instagram here.
21. Mum Talks Mum Talks defines itself as a community. One whose objective is to provide a safe, supportive and empowering network for women in Ireland who are also mothers. Motherhood is not easy but Mum Talks aims to make it a little easier by providing the tools necessary through various monthly events and expert panels. Find out more here.
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22. AI Grrls We all know tech is the way forward but for many it’s a minefield. AI, in particular, is an unknown entity to most but AI Grrls is hoping to change this. The group describes themselves as “working to make Artificial Intelligence (AI) more empathetic, diverse and inclusive". AI Grrls has an international focus but has regular mixers in Dublin with the next taking place in Dublin on May 11. Find out more here.
23. GASH Collective This platform for female identifying and LGBTQ+ producers and DJs in the field of electronic music was founded on International Women's Day in 2016 and already they've made a discernible difference. GASH champions the best of Irish and international female artists — and gives up-and-coming DJs/producers the confidence to get their first live gig. Find out more here.
24. Women4Women Women4Women is a non-profit educational and networking group that was created in 2011. It aims to bring together women from different backgrounds and cultures to bring an understanding between women. The group teaches women about gender equality and promotes integration too.
25. Sounding the Feminists A collective for the music lovers of Ireland, Sounding the Feminists is a voluntary-led collective of female composers, sound artists and other music professionals committed to showcasing the best of Irish female music talent. Find out more here.
26. Empowered Mama Empowered Mama provides a space for new mothers to bring their babies to fitness classes, so that they can take time for themselves and their bodies in a comfortable environment. Changing facilities, toys and mats are all provided, and pre- and post-natal exercises are the order of the day. Find out more here.
27. Women Mean Business A space for Irish women entrepreneurs and businesswomen to excel, Women Mean Business was born to tackle the issue of inequality in the workplace, and inspiring Irish women to strive for success. Find out more here.
28. FairPlé Irish traditional and folk music is an institution of the country, but one where women are often overlooked. FairPlé aims to promote gender balance in the industry, and encourage the development of female musicians. Find our more here.
29. Herstory Founded in 2016, Herstory gives creedance to the countless Irish women throughout history who have contributed to modern Ireland. Modern, historic and mythic women are all involved, to educate us all about women's roles in history. Find out more here.
30. Girls Rock Dublin For younger girls who dream of being involved in music, Girls Rock Dublin is a non-profit that runs camps and events for the rock chicks among us. Part of a global movement, the collective aims to achieve gender balance in the music industry. Find out more here.
31. Women’s Museum of Ireland Founded in 2010, the Women's Museum works towards the formal recognition of the role of women in Irish history and to encourage the same successes in Irish women at home and abroad. Find out more here.
32. Irish Countrywomen's Association (ICA) The Irish Women’s Association is probably the best known female community in Ireland. Founded in 1910 by Anita Lett in Bree, Co Wexford, the group's aim is to bring together both country and urban women and their communities through a collective effort. Support and friendship is at its core and its advocacy work networks with many community-based facilities and initiatives across the country.